[[quoteright:292:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MaskedBall.JPG]] [[caption-width-right:292:''Paper faces on parade...'']]

->Green and black,
->Queen and priest,
->Trace of rouge,
->Face of beast,
->Faces -
->Take your turn, take a ride
->on the merry-go-round
->in an inhuman race!
-->-- ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', "Masquerade"

Want to show off just how rich, elite, and extravagant your [[BlueBlood upper class]] is? Have them celebrate everything with a Masquerade Ball. With bizarre masks and elaborate GorgeousPeriodDress, everyone's identity is sufficiently obscured for any number of misunderstandings. Either Horror or HilarityEnsues.

For really grand scale masquerades, the writers may include festitivities where the entire city [[GorgeousPeriodDress dresses up in grand costumes]], a la Carnival/Mardi Gras. Which maximizes the chance for confusion and mingling with people one would normally never know. Hard to avoid in [[ItsAlwaysMardiGrasInNewOrleans New Orleans]] and Venice.

A popular 19th century setting, due to, as TheOtherWiki puts it, "both to their popularity at the time and to their endless supply of plot devices." To wit: Mistaken identities, untraceable murderers, believing something is AllPartOfTheShow, a normally-costumed character hiding in [[ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself plain sight]], (or mocked for their [[YourCostumeNeedsWork poor quality costume]]) and one of the attendees' masks being revealed to be their ''[[NotAMask actual face]]''. [[DeadlyDecadentCourt A court is a... difficult place.]]

The refinery on top of the sheer trope goldmine that is the Masquerade Ball is the convention of using aliases to go with the masks. Historically, that can free participants to indulge in era-appropriate 'scandalous' behaviors -- and also make a good opportunity for the uninvited to crash. Watch out for the mass robbery by the PhantomThief and ClassyCatBurglar, and hope there's a [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] SuperHero around somewhere. CharityBall often combines with the theft, to give the thiefs a good way to infiltrate.

A modern costume party has some of the potential for this, especially if there are disguises abounding. If it's an ''actual'' Masquerade Ball in a modern setting, expect at least one guest to bring out the ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' quotes. If FanService is desired, the modern costume party has a great advantage: Whereas the nineteenth century believed in modesty, the twenty-first century is a time in which you can expect plenty of [[SexyWhateverOutfit Sexy Whatever Outfits]].

Even those who vainly deny that EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory may grudgingly admit the social metaphor inherent in the Masquerade Ball.

A SubTrope of DancesAndBalls.

Has nothing to do with the {{Masquerade}} (and can actually mean a break from it, such as ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself).
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* In ''Anime/TheBigO'', Schwarzwald rigged it so that the masks would eventually explode. Damn.
** He didn't end up the NietzscheWannabe posterchild for nothing.
* The climax of the anime ''WolfsRain'' has the villainous [[AristocratsAreEvil Nobles]] gather to celebrate their slightly insane plan with such a party.
* In ''Manga/VampireKnight'', a Masquerade ball is held in Chapter 87 of the manga, with Zero and Yuki sharing a masks-on kiss, away from the crowd. You'd expect these types of scenarios in a world filled with aristocratic, bishonen and bishoujo vampires having a social structure heavily resembling a monarchy.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'': Both the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] and [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime]] feature Usagi attending a masquerade ball held at the D Kingdom's embassy in order to find out if the royal family's treasure is the [[MineralMacGuffin Silver Crystal]] and if Princess D is actually the Moon Princess that they are looking for. The scene is more significant in the manga as [[spoiler: Mamoru and Usagi both reveal that they have memories of each other in a past life]] at this event. Naturally, the two of them also share a dance together.
* In ''UruseiYatsura'' the Mendo family has a masked ball every year. This is a rather psychotic pun as the word for "ball" (as in party) can also mean "combat challenge". Which is what it was - all the participants put on masks and attack each other, taking out their frustrations in anonymity. (Then the monk Cherry shows up, having mistaken the Japanese phrase "masked ball" for "grape harvest" and wants to pick grapes ... RumikoTakahashi likes puns.)
* The second arc of ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' ends with a demonic twist on one of these [[spoiler:celebrating the resurrection of the witch]]. Everyone except for Beato wears [[{{Mook}} goat head masks]]. The halls are decorated with [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth golden butterflies]]. [[ImAHumanitarian There is plenty to eat and drink.]]
* ''RoseOfVersailles'' works at least one into the plot, with Marie Antoinette sneaking out of Versailles to attend one in the city where she meets Fersen, kicking off her major romantic subplot.
* {{Vassalord}}: In vol. 4, [[spoiler: Rayflo sends Charlie a note to attend a masqueradeso they can meet up. They quote Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera at each other and eventually a fight between Barry and Charlie breaks out.]]
* ''Anime/LupinIIIDragonOfDoom'' features one hosted by Chin Chin Chow on his luxury cruise ship. Lupin and Jigen (dressed up as a vampire and a werewolf respectively) managed to attend the ball through forged invitation cards, whilst Fujiko (dressed as a cowgirl) really was invited.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Fan Work]]

* The events of "Masquerade"[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8902209/1/Masquerade]] happens during one. Despite the dance NOT turning into a bloody, horror one, the settings DO become quite creepy for this troper...

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Featured in the WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} comics by SLG. A costume party is held on Halloween at the Xanatos building- where the gargoyles fit right in and Elisa is dressed like Princess Jasmine. (She likes Disney Princesses for some reason.) Meanwhile, Fox and David Xanatos are attending a masquerade at the White House.
* Barbara Gordon first created the Comicbook/{{Batgirl}} outfit as a costume for a party - to annoy her father. When the party was crashed by supercriminals, she responded to the crisis like a costumed crimefighter rather than a costumed partygoer (Which Bruce Wayne did, seeing as he was in a clown outfit at the time), starting her journey to become a member of the Bat-Family.
* Happens once in a while in ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}''. In one occasion [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist Ginko]] complained that the terrorists that were the villains of the story could have infiltrated it by just wearing a mask... And not only their leader ''does just that'', but ''[[VillainProtagonist Diabolik and Eva are there too]], wearing costumes over their [[LatexPerfection perfect masks]]''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* One of these happens at the end of the giant DisneyAnimatedCanon tribute-slash-{{Deconstruction}}-of-itself ''Film/{{Enchanted}}''.
* ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'': Villain Jareth places a DreamBallet illusion of this in protagonist Sarah's mind. For those of you who like symbolic details:
** Earlier, we see that Sarah owns a little music box with a princess-like figure in a [[GiantPoofySleeves poofy]] [[PimpedOutDress dress]], twirling atop it, and inside walls of glass and mirrors. In Jareth's illusion, he turns Sarah into this music-box princess.
** There are mirrors in abundance. Sarah has to shatter them to break the illusion.
** Jareth removes his mask while the guests retain theirs, and yet he is often in close proximity to mirrors, including two which are held up to him on either side by masked women when Sarah first spots him.
* ''Film/TheManInTheIronMask'' uses this to switch out the corrupt (literal) EvilTwin king for the good one, with the added bonus that the hidden twin had spent his entire life wearing a heavy iron mask, which he flashed to the king from under the decorative gold one to freak him out.
* At least one Cinderella adaptation makes the Prince's ball a masquerade, making the whole "find her by her shoe size!" idea seem slightly less silly.
** If you're referring to the Hilary Duff movie, it still seems pretty obvious who everyone is under the masks.
** It also happened in a Muppet version.
** In ''Film/EverAfter'', it is a masked ball, but the Prince doesn't use the shoe to find her anyway.
* In ''Film/ZorroTheGayBlade'', the governor holds a Masquerade Ball. Zorro shows up ([[ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself in costume]]) and is unmasked as Don Diego, but then ''all'' the other male guests show up, also dressed as Zorro.
* ''Film/BatmanReturns'' has a costume Christmas party, where everyone wears a costume except, of course, Batman and Catwoman -- for whom their civilian identities ''are'' their costumes.
* The first ''Film/ThePinkPanther'' film has one.
* In ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'', Salieri follows Mozart to a masked ball, at which Mozart ridicules Salieri to the delight of the crowd.
* In the musical number/flashback "Poor Thing" in ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', Lucy Barker, the wife of the title character, is lured to the house of Judge Turpin by Beadle Bamford, who tells her that the Judge is remorseful about what he did to her husband and wants to see her at his mansion. Unknown to Lucy, the Judge has thrown a wild masked ball at the mansion that is well underway when Lucy arrives. Lucy, confused and disoriented by the sights and sounds of the party and from the number of drinks she has at the place, winds up in the hands of Judge Turpin himself, who is anything but remorseful and has used this party as a means to trap and rape her:
-->'''Mrs. Lovett:'''\\
She wasn't no match for such craft, you see,\\
and everyone thought it so droll.\\
They figured she had to be daft, you see.\\
So all of them stood there and laughed, you see.\\
Poor soul!\\
Poor thing!
* In creepy parallel to Judge Turpin above, ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds'' has the lead nerd use his college-fair [[Franchise/StarWars Darth Vader]] costume to trick the heroine into sex.
* The film ''Film/StartTheRevolutionWithoutMe'' (a humorous account of the French Revolution, and yes, ) has a hilarious send-up of this type of party. Even though it's technically not a Masquerade Ball, everyone still wears elaborate court dress--except for King Louis the XVI, who arrives in an elaborate chicken costume. (Apparently his devious wife told him it was [[ItsACostumePartyISwear supposed to be a costume ball]] and then "changed her mind" without telling him.) There's also plenty of intrigue, spying and backstabbing going on as the ball patrons exchange secret notes with each other--so many notes in fact, that the ''entire floor'' gets covered with them.
* Happens in ''Film/VanHelsing''. Fun fact: There is an outtake from this scene in which, instead of saying "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Van Helsing!", Dracula instead declares "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Van Halen!", followed by Hugh Jackman (that is, Van Helsing) air-guitaring.
* The {{climax}} of Creator/AlfredHitchcock's ''Film/ToCatchAThief'' is set at a ball, where people wear lavish costumes fom the era of Louis XV.
* ''Film/SkyBlue'' has one of these at the very start; Shua sneaks into Ecoban wearing an appropriate mask.
* In ''Film/{{Brick}}'', Laura holds a "Halloween in January," party.
* In ''Ridicule'', a scorned lover attempts sabatoge at an elegant costume ball in pre-Revolutionary France.
* Marie-Antoinette, her husband, and her two favorite ladies sneak out of Versailles to attend a masked ball in Paris in Sofia Coppola's ''Film/MarieAntoinette.''
* In ''Film/TerrorTrain'', there's a masquerade party held in the titular vehicle, providing plenty of disguises for the killer.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle go dancing at one organized by Miranda Tate.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's ''[[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Masque_of_the_Red_Death The Masque of the Red Death]]''. [[CaptainObvious It ends badly.]]
* Referenced by TheGrimReaper in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', explaining why he appeared at a summoning ritual with a cocktail and a sausage-onna-stick.[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: "The party's nice, but I expect it'll all go downhill after midnight. It's when [[For Halloween I Am Going As Myself they think I'll be taking my mask off. ]]
"]]
** ''Witches Abroad'' also includes Death apparently wearing a carnival mask, and in ''Maskerade'' he actually does (along with the full ''Red Death'' ensemble), with the shock coming when he ''does'' take it off. Pratchett uses the same gag in the short story ''Turntables of the Night'' set at the modern-day, ultra-mundane version of the Masquerade Ball; a small town Hallowe'en disco.
** The Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}'' is an AffectionateParody of ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', complete with [[NeverMessWithGranny Granny Weatherwax]] and [[MagnificentBastard Nanny Ogg]], rural Lancre witches who have no concept of how to behave in high society, dressing up this way and attending an opera performance. This goes about as well as could be expected given the witches concerned.
* ''Literature/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' has a masquerade scene where the Phantom tributes Poe's story.
* Very obliquely mentioned in an excerpt from a scene of the eponymous BrownNote [[ShowWithinAShow playscript-within-the-book]] ''TheKingInYellow'':
-->CAMILLA: You, sir, should unmask.\\
STRANGER: Indeed?\\
CASSILDA: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.\\
STRANGER: [[NotAMask I wear no mask.]] \\
CAMILLA: ''(Terrified, aside to Cassilda.)'' No mask? No mask!
* In ''Literature/EllaEnchanted'', the ball at the end is a masked affair, which is convenient for Ella since in this Cinderella retelling the prince already knows her well enough to recognise her unmasked (not to mention her stepfamily). In this case, most of the guests don't wait until the end of the night to unmask, since the event is about introducing the prince to eligible young ladies, and said young ladies want the prince to be able to see how beatiful they are.
* The beginning of the climax of the sequel to {{Incarceron}}, ''Saphique'' takes place in a Masquerade Ball.
* In the Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Witches Abroad'', the story of [[strike:Cinderella]] Emberella is done at a masquerade ball. The Witches use this to switch the poor scullery girl with one of their own.
** Just how they managed to change the very dark-skinned Emberella to pale Magrat [[FridgeLogic is never explained.]]
*** Well, the point is that nobody knows who it is - the herald who was carefully coached to announce "Mysterious and Beautiful Stranger" probably wasn't ''told'' "It'll actually be Ella from the kitchens, who's really the Baron's daughter".
* Popular in MarySue and {{shipping}} {{FanFic}}s as it gives the writer an excuse to [[CostumePorn describe the gorgeous ball gowns]] that their female characters are wearing, a chance meeting with someone's MysteriousProtector, and, if the host/hostess hired a band, a scene where a character shows off their amazing singing abilities. The fact that MostFanficWritersAreGirls could be responsible for the first and second reasons.
** A common trend of this in ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fanfics is to hold another Yule Ball (sans the Triwizard Tournament that it's supposed to go with).
* Jacqueline Carey's ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' books frequently feature elaborate masked balls, usually at the winter solstice; however, the trope is averted in that most people's identity isn't really concealed all that effectively. It's an effective plot device for forcing characters together, however.
* Creator/JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene The Golden Age]]'' opens with a masquerade season to celebrate a once-in-a-millenium holiday.
* Many of the Franchise/{{Batman}} short story collections feature this. A few times Bruce Wayne shows up in a Batman costume. How silly!
* Creator/GKChesterton's ''Literature/TheManWhoWasThursday'' ends with one.
* The climax of the first book of the ''Swan's War'' trilogy is a mask ball with such an abundance of plotting, provocation and foreshadowing that it defines the evenings of both following books.
* In Phillipa Gregory's "TheOtherBoleynGirl" Mary Boleyn flirts with Henry the VIII at a masquerade in his court.
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] gets invited to a vampire masquerade ball in the third book. It's a trap, of course, and he knows it. So he declares his opinion on the subject by showing up in the cheesiest vampire costume ever.
* German author Spoerl once had a ball in one of his stories. The narrator/protagonist meets a girl there and wants to get closer. But when midnight is near, she suddenly wants to leave. He doesn't want to let her go, follows her and takes off her mask. To see to his shock that she has a disfigured face. She explains that she never meets other people except on Masquerade Balls, once a year. Yes, it's pretty much a TearJerker.
* Variation on the planet Adumar in the XWingSeries; the perator (king) of Cartann puts on a mask at royal balls which makes it socially acceptable for others to treat him as just another guest, even though everyone knows it's him.
* Creator/AgathaChristie uses a masquerade ball as the starting place for a murder in the "Finessing the King"/"The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper" two-part story in ''[[Literature/TommyAndTuppence Partners in Crime]]''.
* In the ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series, Queen Selenay, partly as a way to see if Prince Thanel of Rethwellan is truly serious about her, holds a masquerade party after the year of mourning for her father is up. She and her eleven ladies-in-waiting dress up as the identical-looking Moon Maidens from Rethwellan legend. Thanel, who is costumed as the Moon Prince, is able to pick Selenay out due to the rose she was wearing at her belt and proposes marriage, which she happily accepts and the two announce their betrothal at the time of unmasking. Too bad things went downhill after the wedding.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Alias}}'' brought the WigDressAccent to new levels by attending a modern retro masque party, where Sydney meets a NewOldFlame who's probably TheMole.
* A black-and-white masque ball in an episode of ''UglyBetty'' provides cover for on-the-lam Claire Meade to talk to her estranged husband again.
* ''Series/GossipGirl'', being about rich socialite teens, has a GorgeousPeriodDress costume ball.
* American Soap Operas usually have at least one every year. Someone usually gets killed.
** ''Series/GeneralHospital'' has an annual Nurses Ball, which is also used to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS.
* The climax of the classic ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "The Masque of Mandragora" has one of these. A masquerade party also factors in "Black Orchid".
** And in the new series, the clockwork robots of "The Girl in the Fireplace" use masquerade masks as part of their period 18th-century disguise to hide their featureless mechanical heads.
* In ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances'', Hyacinth wanted to go to the Lord Mayor's Fancy Dress Ball as Marie-Antoinette, but ended up with a Boudiccea costume instead.
* Used in the Disney series "Series/TheSwampFox". Mary was arrested for treason and told she'd be released after attending one. Marion sneaks into the ball in a redcoat uniform and tries to sneak her out. They both get caught, although they both escape soon after.
* Season 2's Masquerade in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''.
* The second episode of ''Series/{{Leonardo}}'' season two is "The Betrothal Ball", set at the Medici's masquerade ball during Florence's Carnivale.
* One of these took place in season 2 of ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'' although most of the time the masks weren't worn anyways.
* On ''Series/{{Revenge}}'', the Graysons hold an annual masquerade ball at Halloween. It's cancelled in the first season because of Daniel's legal troubles, but staged in the second season episode "Masquerade," with Emily manipulating Victoria into thinking her pre-Grayson son might be in attendance.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* A masquerade ball is the central setting for the Music/{{Rammstein}} video for "Du Riechst So Gut '98". All the band members, in the form of one werewolf (who continually shapeshifts between all six without anyone noticing) tracks a woman in a red dress to a masquerade ball, infiltrates them, seeking her out by scent (he/they sniffs various women's shoulders, searching for her), culminating in cornering her in a bedroom, for a FetishFuel / horrific scene in which six wolf heads burst from his body as they kiss. The wolves escape as the partygoers try to catch them, and the woman is implied to have become a Werewolf as well.
* One Republic's video for "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrOeGCJdZe4&ob=av2e All the Right Moves]]" feature a masquerade ball of Edwardian style - complete with a thieving rat.
* Completely unsurprisingly, the video for Music/{{Versailles}}' song "MASQUERADE".
* The video for Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine's "Shake It Out".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' fall in love at the masque ball, not knowing that they're members of enemy families.
* Act II, Scene i of ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing''.
* Verdi's opera ''Un ballo in maschera'' is [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory very loosely based]] around the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was shot during a masked ball.
** Francois Auber also wrote an {{Opera}} about the same incident, called ''Gustav le troisieme, ou le bal masque''
* ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' has one turned UpToEleven - the song is simply called "Masquerade," and gets used repeatedly throughout the remainder of the play.
-->''Masquerade!\\
Paper Faces on parade!\\
Masquerade,\\
Hide your face so the world can never find you!''
** As in the book, the Phantom attends dressed up as Red Death. He's much more blatant about crashing the party in this version, though.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the retro-SteamPunk ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', many of the splicers are wearing party masks, as there was a 'ball' at about the time they went mad.
** They also use them to hide how disfigured their faces now are.
** Some of them have been wearing the masks so long that their faces have deformed in the pattern of the mask's interior...
* Creator/{{Infocom}}'s third mystery, ''Suspect'', was set at a costume party. The hostess is murdered with part of the protagonist's costume, making the protagonist... well, as the title implies, the suspect.
* Lord Fain of ''VideoGame/{{Lusternia}}'' has an aesthetic that mixes Masquerade Ball and ChessMotifs. Appropriately, his appearance is an extended ShoutOut to [[Creator/EdgarAllanPoe Poe's]] ''Masque of the Red Death'', right down to his title ("The Crimson Masque") and his [[spoiler: [[NotAMask actual lack of a mask]]]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'', one of the missions takes place in a masquerade ball party. You can, if choose to do so, [[ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself infiltrate as a guest with your own mask]], widely known as a famous assassin's icon, though this will be seen as a flashy and provocative innocent costume.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Webcomic/TheBugPond: The chapter, [[http://bugpond.awgosh.com/post/73562336490/a-new-bigger-than-ever-bug-pond-story-will-start Masquerade Mayhem]] centers around a masquerade ball.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* An episode of the first ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' cartoon revolves around a high-class masquerade ball April attends (and looks [[SheCleansUpNicely shockingly stunning]] in her evening gown). She brings the Turtles with her, thinking it'd be fun and ironic. Over the course of the episode she is [[MistakenIdentity mistaken]] for a similarly-dressed European princess and kidnapped, and when security orders everyone to take off their masks, the Turtles are in an obvious bind.
* The episode "Heart of Tarkon" of ''[[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers Galaxy Rangers]]'' has Doc crashing one of these and using the opportunity to turn on the charm with Maya. Maya is not fooled by his identity in the slightest, [[GiveGeeksAChance but is surprised at how charming he can be]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The assassination of king Gustav III of Sweden occurred at a masquerade hosted by the King. The assassin was not recognised, but dropped his pistol at the scene and, thanks to some very fine detective work, the entire conspiracy was unearthed and the involved arrested within a week. The incident was used as a plot for two different operas ((see above)).
[[/folder]]

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